Why was my content rejected for Title?

If your image was rejected with "Title must be descriptive of the subject matter and must be in English. Titles cannot contain special characters, spelling/grammar errors, or repeat words/phrases in excess," it is probably due to one of the following reasons:

Titles are not in English

  • All words must be in English and spelled correctly.
  • Acceptable non-English words that can be included in the title/description are the scientific Latin names of plants and animals and names of people, places, and locations.

Titles do not relate to the image

  • Titles must be relevant and applicable to the image.
  • Titles must also describe the image in detail. For example, the title “Abstract background’ is not specific enough for an abstract background photo or illustration, rather it should include additional information like colors, shapes, etc.  Additionally, one word titles are generic and do not adequately describe an image (e.g. “Nature” or “Dog”).

Titles include special characters

  • Special letters such as å, é, ø, ?, etc., cannot be accepted at this time.

Titles include any of the following unnecessary information

  • Information about the camera or camera settings. For example:
    • Shot with Nikon D2X
    • ISO 400,  f/16, 1/60 sec
    • Any other EXIF data
  • Website URLs or other links
  • Photographer or business name, such as “Photo by John Smith”
  • Assigned case numbers from Shutterstock’s Contributor Support team.
    • Case numbers must be submitted through the “Notes for Reviewer > Case number” dropdown option. They should not be entered in the title field. Learn more about using the Notes for reviewer menu.
  • Titles must be complete sentences, not a list of keywords.  Keywords should be added in the keyword section only.
    • For example, using the title “dogs, canine, puppy, puppies in field” to describe an image would be unacceptable. “Puppies playing in a field with blue sky on a summer’s day” would be a more appropriate title.
  • Illustrations / Vectors: Referencing a different file type (vector or raster) of the same image.
    • For example, submitting a JPEG illustration with a title containing “…vector version available in my portfolio.”


User-added image

Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, London, UK by S.Borisov

Unacceptable Title Examples for this image:

  • Stock photo of Big Ben in London, England by John Smith. Shot with Nikon D2X, 1/250th, f5.6.
  • Big Ben, London, Tourist Attraction, Visit, Black Cab, Houses of Parliament, UK.
  • Imagem do Big Ben eo Palácio de Westminster, em Londres, Inglaterra. Tiro do Banco do Sul.
Acceptable Title Examples for this image:
  • Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, London, UK.
  • Image of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster in London, England.  Shot from the South Bank.

Title Restrictions

  • Title spamming is adding keywords or keyword phrases repeatedly in the title, such as:
    • Pizza logo. Pizza icon. Pizza EPS. Pizza vector. Pizza JPG. Pizza template. Pizza object. Pizza ingredient. Pizza AI. Pizza art. Pizza image. Pizza picture. Pizza object. Pizza symbol. Pizza drawing.
    • Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.Arrow Icon.
    • Spamming is not allowed and it does NOT move your work to the top of the search results. Contributors who either submit images with spammy titles or alter them after approval run the risk of having their accounts suspended.
  • Do not include brand names or trademarks in titles.
  • Objectionable and explicit titles will be rejected. We will not accept language that is offensive, racist, and discriminatory.
  • Content depicting children or teens can never include the words “nude,” “naked,” “sexy,” “hot,” or any other sexual or suggestive words or phrases in the title/description or keywords.
  • Altering titles after approval to include any of the aforementioned restrictions, including brand names, repetitive keywords, or objectionable language, will result in the termination of the account.

We recommend

  • Be descriptive and relevant. Avoid using one word titles and using the exact same title for a series of images that have a similar subject matter.
    • Address who, what, when, and where when describing subject matter. This information doesn’t need to follow the format requirements for editorial captions, but it will help you create a more descriptive and informative title.
    • Include applicable feelings and emotions in the title. For example, “A nervous bride waits for the wedding ceremony to begin.”
  • Descriptive and unique titles help customers find your content thus increasing your chances for downloads.

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful:

Contributor Blog articles

An Update to Our Titles and Description Policy
Maximize Your Visibility: Keyword and Title Best Practices
What’s in an Image Title
19 Common ‘Newbie’ Submission Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid

If you don’t understand the reason for the rejection of your images or if you need additional clarification, you can always contact contributor support.
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